Harper government criticizes RCMP for reclassification of Swiss Arms Classic Green carbine
The RCMP’s decision to reclassify the Swiss Arms Classic Green carbine, essentially banning it, has caused an uproar among Canadian gun collectors and the Harper government.
The Tories, who have championed the rights of gun owners for years, are reviewing a decision by the Mounties to effectively ban a previously legal rifle.
“I am upset by this unacceptable decision regarding Swiss Arms rifles,” Steven Blaney, minister of Public Safety, said in a statement Friday.
“This decision was made by bureaucrats, not elected officials. I have therefore ordered an urgent review of this unfortunate situation.”
“All options are on the table to ensure that no firearms owner who acted in good faith suffers any consequence as a result of this situation.”
Alberta Tory MP Chris Warkentin raised the issue in question period Friday, saying the Swiss Arms Classic Green carbine has been legally sold for a decade.
He says there have never been any criminal events reported involving the Swiss Arms Classic Green carbine, but it has been banned at the stroke of a pen.
The issue is tricky for the Harper government, which campaigned for years to eliminate the long-gun registry and even went to court to keep Quebec from holding on to existing records from the registry.
The National Firearms Association said in a statement that there are 1,000 to 1,800 of the Swiss Arms Classic Green carbine in Canadian hands.
“The government will not be offering compensation and will be demanding that the firearms, which cost between $3,000-$4,000 be surrendered,” the statement said.
“The government is suggesting that all affected firearms owners contact the distributors from which the firearms were purchased for reimbursement.”
The association said the ban is part of a quiet RCMP effort to prohibit firearms in Canada.
“Access-to-information records show that RCMP have an aggressive firearms reclassification agenda and that prohibitions will not stop with the Swiss Arms series rifles,” the association said on its website.
Its Facebook page is even more direct with this posting: “Has RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson declared war on law-abiding firearm owners?”
The association said the Swiss Arms Classic Green carbine has been around for years without incident and some of them were even formally listed in the gun registry before the RCMP decided on prohibition.
Beacon News readers are split on the RCMP’s decision.
Joel Schulz of Calgary says, “Nobody needs a carbine, police and soldiers excluded.”
“The issue as I understand it is more that the weapon was legal, and they are now suggesting that it should be made illegal, and all of these firearms confiscated without compensation. That is not right,” said Bob Knight of Calgary.
“If they want the formerly legal firearms, then they should pay fair market value for them. I bet they would get better compliance then,” says Reijo Silvennoinen of Calgary.
“The fact an unelected bureaucrat can arbitrarily turn a legal weapon into an illegal one overnight is counter to the principles of a democratic, liberal society,” says Leigh Patrick Sullivan of Sherwood Park.
The RCMP has not given an explanation of its decision.
The gun association calls it an assault on the rights and private property of law-abiding gun owners.
It’s urging people to contact the government and write their MPs to get the decision overturned.
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